Bobby's Reviews > New Girl in Town: A New Musical

New Girl in Town by George Abbott
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Sep 04, 11

bookshelves: musical-theater, theater
Read in September, 2011

Okay musical that could be improved in a revival.

The tone is considerably brighter and more colorful than O'Neill's play, as is appropriate for a musical, and little of the original dialogue is retained, but the authors were fairly faithful to the original plot and were not squeamish about retaining such features as a reference to sexual abuse during the heroine's troubled youth. Much is reminiscent of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classics Oklahoma and Carousel, similar adaptations of serious plays. There is even a dream ballet similar to the one depicting Laurie's emotional crisis in Oklahoma.

The authors did a good job of opening up the action and more fully developing the character of Marthy, but there are still a couple of structural problems. I think it was a mistake to interrupt the ball scene with an intermission; putting Marthy's revelation in the second act makes for a much less effective first-act climax. I would also have switched the position of the numbers "If That was Love" and "Chess and Checkers" (with some shifting and rewriting of the dialogue), so that Anna's 11 o'clock number would occur much closer to the denouement and not be upstaged by the ballet dream sequence that immediately follows Anna's song.

Not great, but competent and enjoyable. I would like the opportunity to see it on stage sometime.
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